For a time, I opted out of automatic updates precisely because I had been burned by them so many times. They brick phones and restart computers at the least-convenient time. The prospect of controlling when an update installed thrilled me, as did no longer being on the bleeding edge of things. Let everyone else automatically install updates and suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, I’ll wait until it’s clear the update is not a monster and install it when it’s convenient for me.
Here’s why this logic is wrong for solos, small businesses, and consumers.
Nothing bad happened to my systems during my break from automatic updates, but it could have. The fact is, zero-day bugs are the truly scary monsters that facilitate cyber attacks that can take down your solo or small business enterprise. Not automatically updating means you assume substantial, consistent cybersecurity risk to avoid the occasional performance issue. Is that a chance you are willing to take?
Whether it’s ransomware or malware that attacks the vulnerability you declined to fix with the update is academic—the impact of that sort of damage can be difficult for most solos and small businesses to repair and bounce back from, even if sensitive data is not involved.
[Read: Turn on auto-updates everywhere you can – Wired]
How did I return to enabled automatic updates? I bought a new computer with a new operating system and concierge software that makes automatic updates happen seamlessly, and it’s worked well. At the same time, software companies have become better at turning out better updates and patches.
On the balance, for most users there is no excuse for not returning to the automatic update.